CyclingNTU

The purpose of the blog is to share the experience of commuting to and from NTU by bicycle. Perhaps this will encourage others to try commuting by bicycle. The banner picture, taken on the Serpentine bridge in Hyde Park, London, reminds me of my London commute. Not a scene likely to be encountered in Singapore.

Here, a shower is definitely advisable after a cycle ride I take advantage of the facility in the LKCMedicine office. Previously I was using the showers and changing room in the sports centre. This was fine, but it meant I had to cycle to work and take the shuttle bus C or A to get to and from the sports centre. Convenient shower facilites are a important.

So, about the commute? Here is a rough map of my 18km commute to and from Bukit Timah.bicycle route

It takes me about 45-50 minutes each way. If I leave home at 07:15, I reach my office at ~08:00. Traffic lights account for a sizeable fraction of the commute time. For comparison, the public commute transport takes about 1h 30m each way, but a car journey is only 20-30 minutes, unless there are traffic jams.

How does the commute compare to my 13km commute in London? First of all, it’s a lot hotter in Singapore, which takes some getting used to, but, surprisingly, it takes about the same time to do 18km here compared to 13km in London. This is because London is more congested, roads are narrower, and there are more traffic lights AND HILLS! In Singapore, there are long stretches of flat road, with no potholes! The wide traffic lanes means that I am not competing for space with cars so much. I enjoy the long uninterrupted stretch on Old Jurong Road, along the Tengah ‘wild’ space, although the road edge is damaged by heavy lorries, and people use the canal to dump liquids and the lay-bys to dispose of litter. The absence of hills is also great for speed, ignoring for a moment the painfully steep Nanyang Drive in NTU. The steepest is just before arriving at work, so no opportunity to coast home.

I do have gripes though. There is a lot of commercial and bus traffic with ill-adjusted diesel engines, causing a lot of stinking pollution. I think the engines of London diesel traffic are better tuned and controlled, even those of smelly taxis!

The grilles on rain covers have longitudinal ribs, which are quite dangerous if your wheels end up too near to the curb.

Overall, I find Singaporean drivers to be quite tolerant of my bicycle, and usually they give me plenty of space, with the odd few exceptions.

So, overall, commuting to NTU is a great experience, and more manageable than I had expected. I use an inexpensive aluminium racing bike, which cost me £250 ten years ago on ebay. Very much bottom of the range, but it has drop handlebars, 12 gears that don’t work too well, and a rack to hold my panier for a set of clothing, a  towel and basic tools including spare tubes.

I have ordered a new steel bike. Details when I get it.